Hello Swamp Bloggers!

I hope you are having a great day today. There are a couple of announcements that I want to let you know about before we get into the blog.

  1. The Daddy Daughter Retreat is going to be moved from April to the weekend of August 30th - September 1st. This is to help accommodate the busyness of Spring. If you are currently signed up for the Daddy Daughter Retreat, please re-register for this new date. You will be refunded for your current registration.
  2. Camp Swamp still needs young men and women to serve as volunteer counselors this summer. Please consider signing up if you are able to help even with one week. See here for details on how to apply.
  3. There will be two work parties on Saturday, May 4th and Saturday, May 11th from 8am - 5pm. Sign up to help get the Swamp ready for the summer. Lunch will be provided. Click here to sign up.

Discovering Your Gifts

If you have applied to volunteer at Camp Swamp, or if you have spent some time browsing our website, you have probably noticed there is a section under the 'About Us' tab that lists our Vision, Mission, and Values. You should definitely check this tab out, especially if you are a parent of a camper who wants to know what Camp Swamp is all about.

For this blog, I want to focus on the Swamp Values. The ten Swamp values are: safety, respect, roles, food, fun, leadership, spirituality, YWHW (Yahweh), diversity, and investment. Every person who applies to work with the Swamp must fill out a value paragraph, talking about which value they consider a strength and which they want to grow in while serving. (Obviously, you cannot put food, of course!)

Do you love having fun and helping others have fun? That is a gift!

Filling out this form can have a profound effect on the way you see yourself. Often, we run the risk of being our own worst critic and never recognizing our strengths. Either that, or, our sense of self becomes too inflated, and we do not focus on how to improve our areas of weakness. Regardless, these values can really help prepare someone getting ready to serve. If you are camping this summer, I think you should also look at these values, because you too have the chance to serve those around you while at camp. In fact, campers tend to have the biggest influence on other campers out of everyone.

So, what do you have to bring to the table this summer? Here are some things to ponder:

  • Are you are focused on creating a safe environment for others around you?
  • Have you been told you are very respectful?
  • Do you help people feel valued in their individual roles?
  • Are you a party-starter who helps everyone have a healthy dose of fun?
  • Are you a leader with a humble heart?
  • Do you feel very connected with the Spirit of God, or see God in everything around you?
  • Do you value and respect diversity?
  • Do you take special care in investing your time and effort in others?

The good news about these traits is that you don't have to be one or the other, and you are guaranteed to have at least one. I asked a friend of mine who has been a counselor several times what she thinks her gift was that she used the most while serving at camp.

Matilde Rodgers said she believes she embodied patience while serving.

"By not pushing campers to share personal things unless they want to, and making them feel like I've created a safe non-judgmental place for them to share things going on in their lives. And, by loving them for where they're at instead of having this expectation of what they should be at camp. That's how I tried to show patience to them."

Based on that description I would say that she showed the values of safety and spirituality.

Do you feel connected to God and see Him all around? Maybe your gift is spirituality.

Another cool thing about spiritual gifts is that they can be discovered as you serve. Personally, Camp Swamp has really grown the way that I see myself. One thing that I never would have thought of myself as is a leader. I've always seen my strengths in other areas. Camp really challenged that by putting me in situations just enough outside of my comfort zone to push me into different positions of leadership. And, little by little, over the years of serving at Swamp, that trait grew inside of me.

That is really one of my favorite things about Swamp - seeing yourself grow in ways you never thought possible and discovering your gifts! You will never know your limits until you test them.

So, is this a way to convince you to come to camp and discover your hidden gift? In some ways, yes it is! But it is also a way to try and encourage you that you have a valuable trait inside of you that can be used not only at Swamp but also in God's kingdom everyday.

So, I hope that this has encouraged you and inspired you. And, if you needed another reason to come to camp, I hope it's given you that. Thank you for reading!

Much love & respect,

Julie